Bible Verse: For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks to you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:15-23
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-14; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
When building a prayer life, we may sometimes feel at a loss about how to pray specifically for ourselves or others. We know we need to pray something more…but what exactly? Thank God, we have examples in the Epistles of how to pray for very specific things.
After the Apostle Paul started churches in Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica, he had to move on to minister in other regions. He wrote letters (epistles) to guide and encourage them in his absence, but that’s not all he did. He prayed for them as well. Paul understood there was no distance in prayer. These Epistle prayers are recorded in the following texts:
- Ephesians 3:14-21
- Philippians 1:9-11
- Colossians 1:9-14
- 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Read through these Epistle prayers in the translation of your choice. Read them carefully and slowly as a prayer to God for yourself…or others. Put your own name in the text or the name of someone else. Make them personal and pray them often for yourself and others.
These are Holy Spirit-inspired prayers, once uttered by the Apostle Paul, and which have been repeated or paraphrased in the prayers of the saints for almost 2,000 years. They have no expiry date. They pack a punch because the Holy Spirit led Paul to pray this way, and they still help us pray the will of God for believers today.
These are not lightweight, nonchalant prayers. They are not general and generic, so that even the one praying doesn’t know what they are asking for. These prayers cover spiritual specifics and aim for a spiritual mark. In prayer, the more specific we are, the more dynamic our request will be.
There is an old saying you’ve likely seen on a plaque somewhere, “Prayer changes things.” That is a wonderfully true statement, but here is another thought: “Prayer changes people, and people change things.” That is a true statement as well.
As you practice praying the Epistle prayers, you are asking God to do both things – change situations, and also change people in the ways He wants to. We are grateful that He does both tasks equally well – we simply need to ask specifically.
Prayer: Father, help me remember that I don’t have the ability to change on my own in all the ways I need to change. But I am so grateful that You can help and encourage me in just the right ways and at just the right time. Lead me as I pray these prayers for myself and those I care about. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Reflection: If the Apostle Paul, gifted and inspired by the Holy Spirit, took the time to pen these prayers, He knew these prayers would accomplish change for the better. Take some to read one of these Epistle Prayers each day and personalize it, making it a prayer between you and God.
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